$1,000 Swasthya Slate Is Powering AAP Government’s Mohalla Clinics

A doctor performs blood check for Mohan Lal on the Swasthya Slate at a mohalla clinic in New Delhi.

NEW DELHI: For asthma sufferer Mohan Lal, regular visits to Delhi’s hospitals were a nightmare of waiting in endless queues in sweltering corridors that swarm with mosquitoes.

But a spotless and air-conditioned clinic boasting innovative diagnostic technology and sharply-dressed doctors has just opened in Mr Lal’s neighbourhood.

For Mr Lal, who needs regular treatment for his asthma, the sparkling free clinic and 100 others developed by the Delhi government of Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal in mostly low-income neighbourhoods are a revelation.

Mohan Lal breathes through a nebuliser at the mohalla clinic in his neighbourhood in New Delhi.
Mohan Lal breathes through a nebuliser at the mohalla clinic in his neighbourhood in New Delhi.

Like most of the city’s millions of poor, he was used to the traditional state-run hospitals, often stretched to breaking point, where patients face long delays for even minor treatment and are forced to share beds.

“The hospital is far from my house, I had to walk quite a bit and then I had to wait in long queues for hours in smelly, sweaty hallways,” he said, grimacing at the memory.

The Delhi government allocated an initial $790 million or 79 crores in this year’s budget for the clinics, after promising to improve healthcare and ease the burden on its ageing hospitals.

A doctor checks vialls of blood at the clinic in Mr Lal's neighbourhood in New Delhi.
A doctor checks vialls of blood at the clinic in Mr Lal’s neighbourhood in New Delhi.

The crowning glory of Mr Lal’s neighbourhood clinic is a newly invented device that conducts 50 common medical tests from a single blood sample, including sugar levels and cholesterol.

In a city where diabetes, dengue, hepatitis, typhoid and other illnesses are common, the small, rectangular device provides swift diagnosis — thereby allowing for early treatment.

Results of most of the tests are known within two minutes and are uploaded onto an IT cloud for access by patients and their doctors on their smart phones and the clinic’s tablets.

“IT (information technology) does make a pretty significant difference,” said biomedical engineer Kanav Kahol, who developed the device that he hopes will soon be installed in all of the other new clinics.

Biomedical engineer Kanav Kahoi speaks holding his invention 'Swasthya Slate' at his home in New Delhi.
Biomedical engineer Kanav Kahoi speaks holding his invention ‘Swasthya Slate’ at his home in New Delhi.

It was originally aimed at easing India’s overburdened public health system, whose basic medical services are provided free of charge.

But Mr Kahol said other countries have also expressed interest in the machine, which costs about $1,000 to buy.

“We were very surprised by the fact that what we had developed for India, people all over the world were actually looking for,” the 37-year-old said of the device called the swasthya (health) slate.

At the clinic in western Delhi, a doctor admonishes Mr Lal after examining his test results, which have been uploaded to his digital medical records kept at the centre.

“Your blood report is not good. You must cut down on smoking and drinking,” the doctor said, as the 62-year-old grinned sheepishly.

Mr Lal then goes for his regular treatment — inhaling steam through a nebuliser to decongest his lungs — before moving to the clinic’s pharmacy to collect free asthma medication.

Doctor uses a tablet device to take a picture of a patient for his record in New Delhi.
Doctor uses a tablet device to take a picture of a patient for his record in New Delhi.

India spent just 1.4 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) on healthcare in 2014, according to the World Bank, lower than neighbouring war-torn Afghanistan on 2.9 per cent.

Although doctors working at the free mohalla (neighbourhood) clinics say they are making a difference, they also concede to a range of teething problems, including dealing with Delhi’s patchy infrastructure.

“Sometimes the internet is slow or there is no electricity. Some patients insist on handwritten prescriptions as they are not used to computers and tablets,” said Doctor Alka Choudhary.

“Also at the moment the clinics are not digitally linked with the big hospitals so the medical records of a patient cannot be retrieved if he is admitted there in a case of emergency.

48 COMMENTS

  1. Huge scam miholla clinic is a huge scam , just making fool of people ya everybody knows the knowledge of common people about the health care system n they all making use of that , making it first instance well equipped clinic but reality is different it is just mocking n I m afraid that’s beginning of huge scam

  2. Efforts of Delhi Govt are appreciable as it addresses the very core issue of basic health care but they are constrained in their working by Central Govt which on the pretex of it not being a full state is creating obstructions in good and innovative works of Delhi Govt

  3. What a one sided report. Nthing like this is happening. Maybe this bieng done in one mohalla clinic. I work in govts disp in delhi and oversee mohalla clinics. They are in reality mecca of corruption. Doctors are getting rs 30 per patient. So they create false records showing inflated numbers. Plus the lab who has been given tender for tests give money inventive to doctors to write more and more unnecessary tests. This is bogus report. I wonder what blood tests are done for aathma patients. No such machine is present in any clinic. In all mohalla clinic one lab has been given tender to perform tests. Report comes in 3-4 days. Smtimes even more. Reporting is far from accurate. I am no bhakt or aaptard. I m just surprised at this false report.

    • Dear Sir,

      You contradicts your points in the complete post.

      You say, “May be this being done in one Mohalla Clinic”, later you write, “No Such machine is present in any Clinic”.
      If you oversee Mohalla Clinic, then sir, you should be giving concrete statement, dont give statement which are vague.
      I hope you understand the true importance of Mohala Clinic of Decongesting the Hospitals for basic health care as stated correctly by Dr. Devashish Tarra .

      Enjoy

  4. More Kejriwals are needed for working all around the country for helping poors to access basic health care services.
    Salute to this gesture AK

  5. The Device that the guy is claiming as innovation is not correct its previously developed by “Theranos” and its under scanner for the correctness of the reports. people can validate . He is relabeling himself as the original inventor and getting the contract for devices.

    • @ Chandra – this device has nothing to do with Theranos, which is a totally different technology. Although not a cutting-edge technology by medical standards, this device is still a very useful point-of-care diagnostic device that has been developed by Dr. Kanav while he was with Public health foundation of India (PHFI). Time will surely validate the device as well as its accuracy, but it is certainly a hugely disruptive way of bringing primary care closer to the people who need it. Primary care clinics in every neighborhood is a proven method to decongest hospitals, improve health outcomes and reduce healthcare costs. It’s a pity such initiatives are not being encouraged everywhere. Instead, people who have no clue how healthcare needs to be revamped are instead sitting in positions of power within the decision making bodies.

  6. Perfect initiative as per the need of common man, hope the plan of making 1000 such clinics, will be successful. No Jung/Modi put any brakes

  7. Bhakts who comment negative about this brilliant initiative secretly admire in their hearts. I applaud AAP government for showing other parties what a good governance really means. No wonder they won with huge margin and am sure this will replicate all over country since people understand who just talks and who actually works.

  8. The progress should be judged from a non political spectecls. If it is real we should except it whole heartedly .

  9. AAP is the only party which will work like this. Others will not just never do any work, they will do everything possible to stop other from doing any good work. Hope AAP doesn’t change and become like the others parties. You guys will be blessed by those who have no one to help them.

  10. Paid article. Where in $790 million is 79 crores. Tamilnadu has much better facilities than the hyped Delhi. For a state with more GDP than any other state, delhi is not even matching TN or Kerala. Pathetic

    • I never lived in Delhi or Kerela.
      Left Chennai 16 yrs back after living in Chennai for 12yrs. I don’t know how the medical facilities in Chennai are Today.
      Now Delhi under 15yrs of Rule by Sheila Dixit had no such facilities and never cared for people and people’s health. Whatever Mohalla Clinic initiative that AAP Govt have taken is appreciated. Sheila Dixit should have done this a decade ago.

    • DUMB Sriram…If TN or Kerala offer better facilities its good, but what Delhi is offering is equally good isn’t it? So why to cry and say pathetic. Best is better than Good but still not Bad right?

    • you are so ignorant, dont know here to start your education on how Delhi is run compared to TN and Kerala. By the way, I am from Chennai, where is the clinic similar to the one in Delhi you are talking about? .

  11. It’s really great to know that an elected government is doing so nice. Kejriwal and AAP has really proved that they are by the people and for the people. Wish them all the best.

  12. Very good healthcare initiative by Arvind which can be emulated in other states. AAP Keep doing such innovative programs.

  13. Good Job AK. Stick to Delhi and you’ll do wonders.
    fubar – politics aside on this one please. Modi’s doing what a PM has to do.

  14. Good Job, India need many more like this…

    Good example set in Political circles.. It will be hard road knowing the People around, But Selfless service prevails in the long run…

    Thanks!!!

      • when everybody was comparing Modi with manmohan have you ever objected people want better and its a fact Modi is far better then Manmohan when it comes to speech but when it comes to work for people Arvind kejriwal is way better.

    • NDTV I am a regular visitor to your site… Sorry to say that the level of your reporting is going down day by day… It has gone down from good to bad to worse… Now a days I dont feel like reading your stuff in detail… May be after some time I may even stop visiting your site… I have started feeling the reporting is done with some prejudice… I would request the team to look in to the news with broad mind and present it proper way… You may loose one of your regular visitor and I know it will not make any difference to you but in long term its not going to work out… Hope you understand what I am trying to tell you…

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